A WOODLAND classroom which gave Dudley special school pupils the chance to explore the outdoors has been destroyed in a fire.

Flames engulfed the wooden building, which formed part of Pens Meadow’s Forest School's post-16 unit, just after 7pm on August 26.

The Forest School, which also had a bird hide, pond dipping area and camp fire circle, was paid for by school fundraising activities and built by volunteers and students.

The cause of the fire on the former Pensnett High School site in Tiled House Lane is currently unknown but staff at the school, which caters for pupils with severe and complex needs, are determined to replace the facility and have now appealed for help towards the significant cost.

Deputy headteacher, Jodie Colbourne, said: “This project has proved to be a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to explore the outdoors, as well as giving our post-16 youngsters valuable work experience.

“All of our pupils have developed confidence and independence skills, as well as a sense of team work and being closer to nature.

“As a school we have invested in training three members of staff to lead Forest School sessions to ensure pupils have every opportunity to be in the woodland.

“Most recently other special schools have also been able to access this facility."

She continued: “We are very saddened and frustrated that this area of our school has been subject to vandalism and most recently, a large fire which has destroyed our wooden classroom.

"This will now limit the amount of pupils that can take part in Forest School lessons and we are not in position to fund a replacement.

“We would like to thank the staff, families and friends of Pens Meadow for their unified support and determination to rebuild the area.

“We will be looking into fundraising ideas in the very near future, and any offers of help will be very gratefully received.”

Anyone who can help is urged to contact the school on 01384 818945 or email info@pens-meadow.dudley.sch.uk